ALDS Recap: Astros Bats Too Much for Sox

ALDS Recap: Astros Bats Too Much for Sox

by October 12, 2021 0 comments

The best-of-five American League Championship Series pitted the AL West winners against the AL Central winners. The Houston Astros had home-field advantage thanks to winning 95 wins. The Chicago White Sox won 93 and were the third seed in this year’s playoffs.

Chicago is a relative newcomer to the postseason as Houston has made it to at least the ALCS the last four years. The series would prove that the Astros had the talent along with the experience to take down the White Sox. While Chicago’s bats showed up in Game Three, they were no match for the Astros. Playoff performers like Altuve, Bregman, and Alvarez, and not to mention Tucker, came up big.

Game One: Houston 6, Chicago 1

The game started off with starters Lance McCullers and Lance Lynn trading 1-2-3 innings in the first. In the bottom half of the second, the wheels began to fall off for Lynn as he allowed a walk and a single before surrendering the first run of the series on an RBI single by Jake Meyers. It wouldn’t get any better for the big righty. He would allow two runs in the third and then two more in the fourth before being chased. Reynaldo Lopez came in and got the final out of the frame but the Sox were down 5-0 after four innings.

McCullers, on the other side, was brilliant to this point. Through five, the Astros right-hander had given up a single and struck out four. In the bottom of the fifth, Yordan Alvarez blasted a 2-2 offering to the right-center field seats to make it 6-0 Houston. McCullers continued to cruise until he was lifted in the seventh. He finished with those four Ks and allowed four singles without walking a batter.

The White Sox broke through against Kendall Graveman in the eighth for a run thanks to a couple of singles and a walk, but it wasn’t enough. After giving up a single to Luis Robert in the ninth, Ryan Pressly got the next three batters to seal the deal for the Astros.

Game Two: Houston 9, Chicago 4

Framber Valdez started this one for Houston and looked a little shaky to begin the game. After getting Tim Anderson to ground out, Valdez allowed a couple of singles and hit Yasmani Grandal to load the bases. Eloy Jimenez grounded out to bring in a run and the Astros southpaw struck out Yoan Moncada to end the inning relatively unscathed. Lucas Giolito K’d the side in the bottom of the first and it looked like it may be a long day for the Astros. Valdez did the same to the Sox and looked to put his first-inning jitters behind him. Houston scored two in the second on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker and a sacrifice fly from Chas McCormick.

Both starters made it through the next two innings without damage. Valdez would be chased in the top of the fifth after allowing the tying run on three singles. Yimi Garcia came in with runners on first and third and one out to keep it tied. He failed. Garcia allowed both inherited runners to score and Chicago now had a 4-2 lead. That was short-lived as Giolito walked two of the first three batters he faced before being replaced by Garrett Crochet. The 22-year-old lefty promptly walked the next batter and then gave up a game-tying two-run single to Yuli Gurriel before getting out of the inning.

After a quiet sixth and the game still tied 4-4, the Astros dropped a five-spot on Aaron Bummer and Craig Kimbrel in the seventh. The big blows coming from Carlos Correa‘s two-run double which was followed by Tucker sending one to the Crawford boxes in left field. The score was 9-4 and that is how it finished with Pressly and Graveman finishing it out for Houston. They would now head to Chicago needing one more game to move on to the ALCS.

Game Three: Chicago 12, Houston 6

With their backs against the wall, the White Sox came out swinging but so did the Astros. Chicago drew first blood when Jimenez singled in Anderson in the bottom of the opening frame. Tucker continued his torrid hitting with a double and a homer over the next two innings to drive in four. He staked Houston to an early 5-1 lead heading to the bottom of the third. Chicago wasn’t going to go down without a fight. They came roaring back with five runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Grandal and Leury Garcia hit a two-run and three-run homer respectively which were the first long balls by the South Siders in the series.

Alex Bregman promptly tied it at six with a single off of Michael Kopech. The White Sox came right back with three of their own in the bottom of the fourth off of Garcia and Zack Greinke. That put the score at 9-6. Ryan Tepera and Cristian Javier traded zeroes for the next couple of innings and it looked like the score may stay that way. The White Sox added three more runs in the eighth with four straight hits off of Brooks Raley which closed the game out at 12-6 and allowed the White Sox to play another game at home.

Game Four: Houston 10, Chicago 1

This game started off with Chicago getting the first run in the second inning off of a solo homer by Gavin Sheets. The Astros responded quickly with two runs of their own in the top of the third as Correa doubled to drive in Altuve and Bregman. The Astros tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth to make the game 5-1. The White Sox could not answer and Brantley added RBIs in the sixth and eighth innings to make it a 7-1 game. Altuve tacked on a three-run bomb to put the cherry on top at 10-1.

Statistics

For the Astros, Tucker was big going 5-for-17 with a couple of homers. The usual suspects got into the action as well. Altuve had five hits as well as Correa. Brantley had seven and Bregman had six while all contributing to the onslaught. On the pitching side, McCullers set the tone in the first game. He finished allowing just one earned run in 10.2 innings. The Astros bullpen was lights out with Javier, Pressly, Ryne Stanek, and Phil Maton shutting out the White Sox for 9.1 innings while striking out 17.

On the Sox side, Abreu was 5-for-14 and Anderson was 7-for-19. Grandal and Garcia were the only two to hit homers. On the pitching side of things, Tepera was the only one worth a mention with 4.2 innings while allowing just one run.

What’s Next?

The Astros move on to their fifth straight ALCS while the White Sox will have to wait for their time. The Red Sox seem like they have some magic on their side winning in two walk-offs against the 100-win Rays. The Astros have experience and talent and won more games than Boston this year. We will see what happens when they face off in Game One on Friday.

Series: American League Championship Series
Teams: Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros
Date: Begins on Oct. 15; time TBD
TV: FOX


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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